Asian hornet: a major predator for honey bees


The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina, not to be confused with its European cousin Vespa crabro, or with the giant hornet Vespa mandarinia that has recently been spotted in North America) has become within just a few years, the second main predator of western Europe honey bees. While Vespa velutina is smaller than Vespa Mandarinia, it is a major threat to bee colonies, devastating entire apiaries and leaving the beekeepers desperate.

Vespa velutina first arrived in Europe 2004 in the southwestern region of France and has since spread to the entire French territory and gradually entering its closest neighbors (Spain, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland).

Asian hornet: a major predator for honey bees
Impact on bee colonies

Impact on bee colonies


The Asian hornet hovers around the hive’s entrance, watching for bees, causing major stress for the colonies.

The inability of bees to forage freely due to the havoc caused by the hornet, leads to starvation of the bees, subsequently causing their death. In addition to bees, this hornet attacks a huge variety of insects, posing a major threat to biodiversity.

How to fight Asian hornets?


Currently, these countries have two main control solutions: nest destruction and hornet trapping (spring trapping for foundresses, summer trapping for workers, and autumn trapping for breeders).

These two strategies do not allow the eradication of the hornet but contribute to slowing down the propagation and the impact on the hives. Beekeepers also use alternative solutions, such as electric rackets and hive shields).

Today, the main challenge for research is to identify a trapping solution (either mechanical or pheromone-based) that is both effective and selective to limit the impact of trapping on biodiversity. 

How to fight Asian hornets?

What is the Asian Giant Hornet found in Washington state?

18 May 2020

In December 2019, an unusually large hornet was spotted in Washington state by residents of Blaine and Bellingham, near the Canadian border. Click here to learn more about it.


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